London-based electronic duo, Tullamarine — British-born writer/producer Adam Young and Kiwi-born, London-based writer/producer Joss Arrmitage — features two accomplished artists, who have been friends for over 20 years, but who have long created separately — until 2015 when the duo formed their latest, collaborative project through the fog of late-night conversations and half-formed ideas.
Inspired by Brian Eno’s Oblique Strategies, the duo’s initial idea behind the project was to creatively push each other through experimentation and remote collaboration, with the hopes of bettering their respective music. Sharing two, four or even eight-bar snippets, and never working physically together in the same studio, the duo saw ideas gradually form and organize themselves into symbiotic designs of experimental production. Interestingly, they had no prearranged agenda, no pre-determined style; they went where each track took them in an intuitive fashion.
The duo’s intuitive process shouldn’t be surprising: Young, who’s an expert int twisting and shaping audio found and Armitage, whose style is defined by a deep and abiding love of synths quickly found a natural fit that came together through a shared production and writing approach. Initially. tracks were guided by Young or Armitage, but rarely both. But by the time the released And So We Followed Her Blindly Into The Sun EP there was a marked shift in their creative process, with the duo collaborating much more while revealing influences from the likes of Nils Frahm, A Winged Victory for the Sullen, Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians and a lot of nights at The Barbican.
With the October 20120 release of the three-song Stratosphere EP, Young and Armitage firmly established their sound, one that’s an assertive, melancholic soundscape. Continuing where Stratosphere EP left off, the emerging British electronic duo’s 17 track album Frequency, allows listeners to further experience their complex and unique soundscape, which evokes memories of clubbing, to more expansive and meditative material, interspersed with beat work that brings 90s alternative hip-hop and IDM. Interestingly, Frequency’s latest single “Then Billy Said”/”What Billy Said” is an expansive track with a meditative piano-led introduction before quickly transforming into a trance-inducing section featuring skittering beats, shimmering synth arpeggios that slowly builds up tempo — but while being an exercise in tense restraint without release. Adding to the eerily cinematic feel of the song, get composition focuses on Billy, a bewildered fictional character, created by the duo’s Joss Armitage, who had conflicted relationships with women since his mother died when he was a young boy.
Directed by WIlliam Glass, the recently released video for “Then Billy Said”/”What Billy Said” is an achingly nostalgic dream that stars Lilly Ashley as a sort of distorted and romanticized image of someone’s late mother. Throughout the video, Ashley’s mother-like figure holds a fish balloon, which the duo and the video’s director explains is meant to embody both the child and childhood. Of course, at some point, the woman eventually decides to let her balloon go. So the video alludes to the innocent and playful mother, and to death — with the tacit understanding that death is a part of it all.